NASCAR, IndyCar search for ways to attract younger fan base
A regular season of stark realization over just how hard a sell motorsports currently is has become an offseason of navel-gazing for those who promote events. Indeed, times are rancid. NASCAR contested, arguably, its greatest Chase for the Championship to weak attendance and television ratings and the IZOD IndyCar Series continued to battle its own similar realities despite presenting yet another tight championship battle.
Much of the consternation within the industry involves how to rekindle an interest not only among the market-moving 18-to-34-year-old demographic, but also in children who are, for various reasons, losing interest or never getting a chance to gain interest in racing. It's somewhat ironic that the sport has lost that precious swathe of society as its drivers -- especially in NASCAR -- skewed increasingly youthful the last decade.
"We screwed around there for 10 years, 15 years. Everything was going really well and you couldn't screw it up, and then all of a sudden that growth stopped and came back down a couple factors and we thought, 'Oh, we didn't do a very good job promoting and reaching out and trying to make ourselves better.' We're paying a price for that now."
"Let's say you have a Joey Logano fan and he has a Fan View in his hand, it would be cool if he could communicate with other Joey Logano kids holding other Fan Views somewhere else in the speedway. Those kinds of things, we need to develop and show that we deliver ... All these NASCAR-related TV shows or radio outlets, I really think they ought to have kid reporters out in the crowd, kids talking to kids. Because kids, with the multi-tasking they do and all the inputs they're used to absorbing per hour, I don't think sitting down in front of a TV and watching a NASCAR race is going to capture their interest. They need to be here and see the magnitude of it and understanding what they're seeing, and no one can do that for a kid than another kid."
Moves are being made. Motorsports is trying, because it knows survival is now an issue with racing fans statistically the oldest of all professional sports. NASCAR and IndyCar are adjusting garage protocols to cater to families, promoters are reducing junior ticket prices. But losing that demographic required a multitude of mistakes and unfortunate circumstances. Regaining it, if at all possible, will be just as multi-layered.